Ships from NATO’s Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) are heading to France for a scheduled port visit and ordnance disposal operations.
The ships are scheduled to arrive in Cherbourg on October 20 where they will coordinate with the French Navy in preparation for historical ordnance disposal operations (HOD Ops) off the French coast, resupply the ships and get a break from life at sea.
Over the last three months the ships of SNMCMG1, their crews and the command staff took part in exercises Northern Coasts in the Baltic Sea and Joint Warrior in British waters North-West of Scotland. Prior to these exercises, SNMCMG1 took part in HOD Ops in Latvia and Estonia clearing waters of explosives remaining from two World Wars.
The exercises provided an opportunity for all personnel to refresh and train on a wide range of naval warfare skills. Some of these skills are put to use in the real world during the HOD Ops to make waters safer for navigation and fishing by neutralizing found historical explosives (mines and torpedoes).
SNMCMG1 has previously visited ports in five Baltic Sea region countries including Finland and Sweden, which are important partners of NATO, and two ports in the United Kingdom.
SNMCMG1 is currently composed of the NATO group flagship, Latvian coastal minelayer and command ship LVNS Virsaitis, German minehunter FGS Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Norwegian minesweeper HNoMS Rauma, Belgian minehunter BNS Primula and Dutch minehunter HNLMS Makkum. SNMCMG1 is under the leadership of Commander Gvido Laudups of the Latvian Navy.